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Japan, US agree to boost alliance deterrence

TOKYO, April 22 (KUNA) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino on Monday agreed to advance the efforts for strengthening alliance deterrence and response capabilities of their countries, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
During their meeting in Tokyo, Kishida and Aquilino also reaffirmed the importance of steadily implementing the realignment of US. forces in Japan, the ministry said in a statement.
Kishida expressed his gratitude for the contribution of US Indo-Pacific Command and the US Forces Japan, saying, "They play a significant role in maintaining peace and stability in this region, as the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe, as shown in North Korea's launch of ballistic missile conducted today." The premier told Aquilino that, during his official visit to the US earlier this month, he strongly emphasized Japan's determination that Japan and the US are global partners and that Japan, together with the US, stands ready to fulfill its responsibility for peace and stability in the region and the international community.
In response, Aquilino said that the importance of the Japan-US alliance has never been higher amidst an increasingly severe security environment, and he also stated that he would like to demonstrate the unwavering U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific region to achieve a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific," according to the statement. (end) mk.aa